Hello everybody, and welcome in to episode 41 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Exodus 20 today and our focus is on the Ten Commandments. We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in Manipur, India, New South Wales, Australia, Delhi, India, Guatemala City, Guatemala, New York, New York, Montgomery, Alabama and Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Thanks for listening! Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast Don’t forget about our new web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more – Click here for our reading plan!

Today we are discussing The Ten Commandments of Exodus 20, and let’s lead off with a trivia question. How many commandments are in the Ten Commandments? And the answer is…a bit tricky. If you really want to stretch it – you can get to 20 or more – but the people of God have been calling them the Ten Commandments because there appears to be ten groups of related commandments. Consider the 10th commandment:

Do not covet your neighbor’s house. Do not covet your neighbor’s wife, his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. Exodus 20:17

If you really want to be pedantic, you can find 6-7 different commandments here – but the overall tenth commandment is essentially: do not covet that which is of your neighbor – so, six or seven individual commands coalescing into ONE big commandment.

Let’s talk about the third commandment:

Do not misuse the name of the LORD your God, because the LORD will not leave anyone unpunished who misuses his name. Exodus 20:7

This question came up tonight during our family time: What does it mean to use the Lord’s name in vain? In order to understand this question, we need to understand two very important aspects of this commandment: #1 What is the NAME of the Lord and #2 How can we misuse the name of the Lord, or how can we use the Lord’s name in vain? First question – what is God’s name? Well, I don’t think this command is referring to the word, “God.” God Himself gives Moses His name in Exodus 3:

13 Then Moses asked God, “If I go to the Israelites and say to them: The God of your fathers has sent me to you, and they ask me, ‘What is His name?’ what should I tell them?”14 God replied to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you.” 15 God also said to Moses, “Say this to the Israelites: Yahweh, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever;(L) this is how I am to be remembered in every generation. Exodus 3:13-14

So – God’s name is Yahweh. That doesn’t mean it is okay to say God’s name as a curse word, as many do, or to use the word ‘Lord,’ as part of a meaningless phrase or epithet. I don’t think that is wise, nor right, but the name of God used in Exodus 20, in the command itself is ‘Yahweh,’ and that seems to be the word that we are not to misuse, or say vainly. This was such a big deal to many Jewish people that they would not say or pronounce that name AT ALL. Hence, modern people are not entirely sure how it is pronounced properly.

How do we misuse it? Any saying of that word that does not involve reverence and awe, or recognition of God and His majesty is a vain use. Swearing, cussing, etc is obviously even worse than that – but the command is to never use that word in a meaningless or empty or non reverential way. Perhaps the Hebrews had it right to avoid saying it. (They said, ‘the name,’ instead.)

Let’s read the chapter…

One more topic: What do we learn about God’s character from the Ten Commandments? I think we learn one very important thing: God is jealous. In fact, He says it as clearly as possible in vs. 5:

Do not bow in worship to them, and do not serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, Exodus 20:5

As well, we see multiple commands in which God warns Israel to NOT worship other gods, to NOT make idols, not serve other gods, or anything along those lines. Why is this such a big deal to God – is this a flaw in His character – because jealousy in humans usually does represent a character flaw. In God’s case, however, it is anything but a flaw, but is 100% GOOD. Good for us, even – because the pursuit of worthless gods and worthless idols is BAD for us. Imagine a doctor who is an excellent and caring doctor – world class in his ability and compassion, and technology and grasp of medicine and in bedside manner. Imagine you’ve grown up going to him, and he always helps you. Imagine still that there is another doctor – one that is evil – that harms his patients – poisons them, molests them, hurts them, hates them. Would not the good doctor do everything possible to keep you from going to the doctor that would harm you? I think so, and God’s jealousy is like this, only infinitely better. Consider pastor and author David Platt’s words on the good and beneficial jealousy of God:

“God is a jealous God.” What does that mean? It means that, as a husband, I am jealous for the affections of my wife. I’m jealous for her love. And anyone or anything that attempts to steal her love and affection from me will be met with the greatest of opposition, is that clear? In the same way, in a much greater way, the God of the universe is so jealous for, desiring of, your affection and love, that anything which threatens to steal that love or affection from your life in this world will be met with divine force. And don’t miss this, this is not some insecure jealousy that’s afraid we’re going to find something better in this world. This is an infinitely good jealousy because God knows that everything that is in Him is more satisfying than everything in the world put together. And He so desires your good, people of God. He so desires your satisfaction, that He  give you tough commands to abandon possessions and things and pursuits in this world because He knows, and He wants you to know, that there is infinite pleasure to be found in Him. Forsake friendship with the world.David Platt, “Faith Submits,” in David Platt Sermon Archive (Birmingham, AL: David Platt, 2009), 2266–2267.

End of the Show: Bible memory verse for FEBRUARY: Acts 9:31 So the church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.

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